Data Informs Instruction

Ever teach an online course? Those who have know it’s sometimes difficult to know what’s going on with the students taking the course.  After all there’s “no way” to engage face to face with them, or maybe there is.

In any case having a pulse on if students are engaging in the course and how they’re engaging can be key.  Knowing when to what degree and in what ways students are engaging with course material and each other can help improve the outcomes of the course and help you (the instructor) help students meet with success more often.

One tool available to you in our course site is the Statistics tool.  This tool brings together an extensive amount of log data – and some of it in ready-packaged easy to use diagrams and visual models. You an even run custom reports using the Reports tab:

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Here are just a few of the tables/graphs you can see just by selecting the tool:

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To use the tool, just select it from the tool set. The tool merely reports data – it won’t change anything, but it could help you change how you help your students succeed in your class.

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Online Course Presence – Whose Showing Up?

One of the great little tools in Sakai 10 is the Statistics tool.  While not really leveraged by many instructors – it’s usefulness is really passive in nature.  Statistics grabs a lot of data about what’s going on in your course site in Sakai. image1

If you don’t have Statistics enabled, just go to Site Info in the course, then click on Edit Tools.  On the new page, scroll down and place a checkmark next to the Statistics tool, and then proceed through adding the tool as you normally would.  Statistics begins gathering data from the time it’s enabled, so it’s a good idea to have it on before the course begins.

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Instructors teaching online courses  use it to verify student attendance in the first three days of the course – and the layout is pretty simple.  There are some out of the box ‘canned’ reports – giving you access to the information most instructors like to review, or you can click the Reports button near the top, then click the Add button. After customizing the report you can save it and keep coming back to it as often as you like to review new information.

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How is this helpful for face-to-face or ‘on ground’ courses?  Instructors who release or share critical information with students – and want to know if students are accessing it – can do so by running a report on a particular resource.  You can also check to see if those students who aren’t doing as well are even taking advantage of what you’ve placed into the course site, giving you the opportunity to approach them and ask if they need additional help with the course material. You could even check to see if students have accessed the course syllabus.

You can find out more about the Statistics tool here.